Report Lists Ways to Protect U.S. From Cyberattacks

One year after the September 11th terrorist attacks, U.S. officials warned that rogue nations are preparing for attacks that could cripple America's vital computer-run infrastructure. U.S. cybersecurity czar Rickard Clarke has taken the initiative in this area with a draft report containing 86 recommendations on how to protect U.S. homes and businesses from these cyberattacks.

Mr. Clarke presented the draft report at Stanford University. He explained that, "Significant damage could be done to the economy" if there was a successful cyberattack. "Malicious commands could be sent out that would cause the systems to blow up. That's the extreme," he said, adding: "Nation states are forming offensive military units that would use cyberspace against us in future wars. Somewhere along the line, we will face a major threat."

The 86 recommendations are divided into groups:

Level 1. The home user and small business
Level 2. Large enterprises
Level 3. Critical sectors
Level 4. National priorities
Level 5. Global

Among other things, home users and small businesses are urged to install firewalls if they use DSL or cable, along with up-to-date virus protection, spam-blocking software, and regular updates to operating systems, such as Windows. Large enterprises are encouraged to undertake security audits and implement best practices.

Download a copy of the report. Town hall meetings will be held around the country in the next few weeks to solicit the views of concerned citizens. Comments may also be submitted by November 18, 2002 to feedback@who.eop.gov.

-Rosemary Schlank

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